As the USA went to bed with awful news, much of the rest of the world woke up to it. For those of us in the UK it probably wasn’t too much of a surprise. After Brexit it became clear that people will engage in acts of self-destruction, in the face of waves of evidence of the likely devastation of that act. We are early on in the news cycle and we don’t seem to know too much. However, it does seem that the world can thank white voters, male and female, for this outcome. This seemingly can’t be blamed on white working class voters – the polling (if accurate) suggests that white graduates voted in droves for a racist, transphobic, xenophobic, proud sexual abuser. Yet many are surprised. Surprised white women would be active participants in the (re)production of white male supremacy. But how can we be surprised? My own work has shown that women actively reproduce the patriarchy, even when it is to their detriment. White women then also have an interest in preserving white supremacy. I am more surprised at the high numbers of Latino men and women voting for Trump. I am sure work will be done to understand why. Maybe many hope to be in a position to benefit from Trump’s promised tax cuts. Maybe a lot of votes were cast while there were spurious allegations made about emails last week.
So what are we left with? As a woman I feel personally hurt and bruised to see a confessed serial abuser of women, a gross specimen of masculinity who derides, degrades and assaults women, elected to this highest office. As a woman I fear for poorer women in the US who will lose out with the defunding of Planned Parenthood. I fear for those who need access to abortions. I fear for trans people, forced to use a particular toilet. I fear for men and women of colour. As a disabled person I am disgusted that a man who mocked a disabled person, for being disabled, can be elected to such a position of influence. I fear for the rest of the world, and what this signals about the revealing and celebration of the underbelly of white male supremacy which our economies are built on. I am scared for the environment, for biodiversity, for indigenous people, and for the future of all the life on this planet we share.
In the face of this fear, where can I (or we) find hope and comfort? Today perhaps we need to grieve. That grief will be the start of the healing and the way forward. I don’t want to see so called Lefties (men) blaming Hillary Clinton. Or working class people. We need to recognise and confront the racism at play here. I tweeted that we need self-care. Eat as well as we can, exercise our bodies and minds to make them as strong as we are able (if we are able), breathe deeply, and reach out to those we love. We must support the self-care of others, by creating space and time for other vulnerable groups to heal. Then we must join together. Find commonality across these traditional political divisions. Reach out to climate change activists, across communities. We must recognise that sexism, disablism, heterosexism and racism are not independent forms of oppression, but inextricably linked. From solidarity and love within and across communities, perhaps we can create a line of defense against the horror that’s coming.
Oh, and remind ourselves, that history was made last night/today. The world’s first President Fart?